COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kentucky coach Keith Madison earned his 700th victory Monday night with a 3-1 win over No. 17 Texas A&M in the Aggie Baseball Classic.
Madison, now in his 24th season at the helm of the Wildcats, owns an overall record of 700-571-5 (.551).
"I was just so proud of our team because after our devastating loss to Pepperdine and losing in extra innings to Washington State, a lot of teams would have folded," Madison said. "This team came back and kept competing and really showed a tremendous amount of character to come out and beat the 17th-ranked team in the country. I'm very proud of this team tonight."
Kentucky improved to 4-5 on the season.
Senior Jarrod Reynolds recorded his first career start and threw 3.2 effective innings against the Aggies (10-4), striking out two while allowing one run on five hits. Reynolds was supported by a solid UK defense that made remarkable plays to keep the A&M hitters in check.
The Wildcats picked up all three of their runs in the second inning. Senior first baseman Robert Newton started the Cats' rally when he was plunked by A&M starter Steven Ponder. The junior lefty then put third baseman Russ Rutherford and designated hitter Cory Hahn on the bases with two consecutive walks. With the bases loaded, Ponder hit senior left fielder Caleb Brock allowing Newton to come home. Freshman Jesse Barber reached on an error and sophomore Caleb Stewart singled, putting UK up 3-0.
Stewart, who was named to the All-Tournament Team along with teammate Joseph Blanton, is making a serious bid for the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after one day of action. The sophomore right fielder reached base safely 11 straight times before he was called out on strikes in the sixth inning. The span included a 5-for-5 effort against Washington State in the first game of UK's double header, becoming only the sixth Wildcat and first since Todd Young put up five on Tennessee on April 16, 1995.
Hahn got the nod to relieve Reynolds in the fourth, and the versatile right-hander went to work, throwing 3.1 innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball. Also earning UK's tournament win over Pepperdine on Saturday, Hahn displayed effective command, striking out five and walking none to earn the win for Madison.
"I think it was really big for our program to get the win tonight," Hahn said. "Not only was it Coach Madison's 700th win, we lost three games we should have won down here and this puts us back on track."
For Madison, the quest for 701 begins this weekend when the Wildcats play host to the Holiday Inn North Classic at Applebee's Park. UK welcomes Miami (Ohio) and Illinois to the Bluegrass, and will start the home schedule against the RedHawks on Friday, March 1 at 3 p.m. ET.
"God has really blessed me to be able to coach long enough to win 700 games," Madison said. "I can't take a lot of credit for it because I've had so many great players and assistant coaches that have been such an integral part of the success we've had at Kentucky"
Texas A&M 000 100 0 - 1 7 2
Kentucky 030 000 X - 3 6 1
Win: Hahn (2-2)
Loss: Ponder (0-1)